Amazon’s Fire TV devices are excellent portable streamers, and they have a little secret that makes them even more useful: they let you use VPN apps like PureVPN.
Why is that good for streaming? Because VPN services let you unblock a variety of streaming services from the US and around the world (both free and subscription-based), thus vastly increasing the amount of content you can watch – regardless of where you live.
- Note: This sponsored post was written in collaboration with PureVPN.
So, for example, if you have a Netflix subscription in the UK – you can open up Netflix’s US library of content, which is bigger than the one in the UK. If you’re subscribed to Paramount+, you can check out their content library in several other countries – and find programmes that aren’t available in your country.
And let’s not forget travelling – when you go abroad, you can easily take the Firestick with you – but then you’re stuck with the local content in the country you’re in. Not so with a VPN – which lets you “pretend” you’re still in the UK, and continue watching your regular content.
But alas, many VPN services either don’t have a Fire TV app – or work very poorly with streaming services.
In comes PureVPN (check their special offer): A popular, long-running VPN service that not only has an advanced Fire TV app (with more exciting features in the pipeline – see below), but also works perfectly with streaming services – yes, even Netflix, which is notorious for detecting and blocking many VPN services.
And the best bit? It’s cheaper than most VPNs, despite offering more value than some of the leading ones out there.
In this guide, I’ll explain how to use a VPN on Firesticks to unblock geo-restrictions on streaming services, and why PureVPN offers excellent value for money for precisely that purpose.
Unblocking Streaming Sites with a VPN
Let’s start with a quick explanation of what a VPN actually is, and why you need it to bypass streaming geoblocks.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. In simple terms, a VPN lets you create a secure connection between your device (PC/phone/Fire TV stick/etc.) and a remote computer.
Then, you use that remote computer (or Network) to browse the internet (or stream videos) – so for all intents and purposes, it’s as if you’re sitting next to that other computer – wherever in the world it may be – and using IT for your internet browsing.
This is where the streaming services come in – if you connect to a VPN server in the US, it’s as if you’re actually in the US – and they will show you the US catalogue. And if you’re travelling abroad and you connect to a VPN server in the UK – it’s as if you’re back in the UK.
For the best flexibility, professional VPNs (like PureVPN) offer apps for several types of devices – so you can use the service on your laptop, on your phone – and even on your streaming device, like the Firestick.
Therefore a VPN can also safeguard your privacy, wherever you choose to use it, so that websites won’t be able to trace and track your browsing. When you’re browsing the internet without a VPN, websites can save your IP, which they can use to get information about you – such as where you are in the world.
Plus, as long as your IP stays the same, those websites can theoretically track you across the internet. Additionally, while an IP address is anonymous, your Internet Service Provider (Virgin Media/Sky/BT/etc.) can make the connection between your IP and you – and in essence, see ALL your browsing history (even if you use ‘Private Browsing’ mode).
A good VPN – solves that.
Why Do Streaming Sites Block Countries And VPNs?
Streaming services like Netflix and Paramount+ would probably be happy to offer the same library of content everywhere in the world – but alas, they can’t.
Unlike original content that is produced directly for the streaming services, Netflix and the rest also buy a lot of content from other production companies and channels.
And those deals often state that a certain TV programme or film can only be watched in certain countries. Therefore, the library you see in the US is so different from the library you see in the UK.
Up until a few years ago, bypassing Geo-Restrictions was pretty easy, and many services out there offered this service.
Then, in 2016, with growing pressure from North American content companies, Netflix upped their game and started a cat-and-mouse fight against Geo-Bypassing services and VPNs. Other streaming services soon followed.
On some streaming services, the ban on VPNs is so broad, that even people who continue to use VPNs for other purposes – to protect their privacy, for example – are often unable to watch the streaming service they’re paying for (even in their “real” country) – when they’re using a VPN. BBC iPlayer, for example, is notorious for that – and won’t let you watch with a VPN, even if you ARE in the UK.
This is also true for many free American streaming services that are based on adverts – like Tubi, for example, which can’t be accessed in the UK at all, unless you’re using a VPN that still works – like PureVPN.
How To Use A VPN On A Firestick
I’m a big fan of Amazon’s Fire TV devices (such as the Fire TV 4K Max, the Fire TV Cube and the rest – see our Firesticks comparison here).
One of the Firestick’s significant differentiators when compared to Roku’s streaming sticks – is that Fire TVs support VPN apps.
And we’re talking official support here – there’s no need to “jailbreak” the Fire TV device or do any special tricks – you install the VPN app of your choice on the device, through the official Amazon app store – and that’s it.
Once the app is installed, you run it BEFORE you open your streaming app, make sure you connect to a server in the country you’re after – and then you load the streaming service.
Of course, whether that VPN app can actually unblock geo-restrictions on streaming services, on the Firestick, is a whole different question. I test a lot of VPNs, and many of them struggle when it comes to the Fire TV sticks and streaming.
PureVPN, however, seems to work every time, and with every streaming service I threw at it.
There’s one technical tip, though – some streaming apps on the Fire TV (Netflix in particular) get “stuck” in a single country, even if the VPN is on – because of the Fire TV’s caching.
That’s easily fixed, however – simply restart your Fire TV, or find the streaming app on the Apps List, in the Fire TV’s settings – and clear its cache.
Why Is PureVPN Such A Good VPN For Firesticks?
When you’re looking for the best VPN app to unblock streaming on the Fire TV, the most essential aspects are speed (so your videos don’t buffer and stutter), ease of use, the number of supported countries around the world, and of course – the price.
PureVPN ticks all the boxes. First, they have their own global network of 6500+ servers in more than 78 countries.
Furthermore, they support a variety of security protocols. In a nutshell, some VPN security protocols are best suited for private browsing or sending files, while others are better suited for streaming video. Some VPNs force you to use the less-suited protocol, which hurts your streaming – but that’s not the case with PureVPN.
This all means that when you’re jumping to another country on PureVPN – the connection, and therefore the streaming – remains fast. I’ve tested the app with several different streaming services in the US – and never once did I see any buffering or degraded video quality.
Then there’s the ease of use – PureVPN’s app, which you can download directly from Amazon’s app store – is quick and easy to use. You pick a server anywhere in the world, connect to it – and that’s it, you’re ready to load your streaming app.
In the coming weeks, they’re also adding a cool “Shortcuts” section – which will let you run your favourite streaming app (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.) directly from within PureVPN’s app – so it saves you a step when you want to watch something through the VPN.
They’re also developing an “Auto Connect” feature, which will (optionally) auto-connect the VPN to the server of your choice the moment you turn on your TV/Firestick – saving you the need to manually remember to activate the VPN every time you want to watch something in another country.
All in all, having used plenty of Fire TV VPN apps – PureVPN offers one of the smoothest experiences out there – you pick a server/country, you run the streaming app, and boom – you start streaming.
PureVPN Pricing: Excellent Value For Money
Although VPN services are becoming more and more popular – some of them are also getting quite expensive.
PureVPN keeps it affordable, with one of the lowest per-month costs I’ve seen.
As with most VPN services, the price goes down considerably if you’re willing to subscribe for a longer term in advance.
So the best value-for-money is the 2-year plan, which currently also comes with 3 free months as a bonus.
You then get a total of 27 months of PureVPN service, for just $1.99/month (by paying $53.95 in advance).
If you go for 12 months, you’ll pay £38.88 in advance – which comes down to $3.24/month.
All plans are covered by a 31-day money-back guarantee – so even if you sign up and pay for two years – but then discover after a couple of weeks that you’re not happy – you’ll get your money back.
Also remember that, unlike some other services, PureVPN supports streaming on multiple devices at the same time – up to 10 – so you can use it on the Firestick, while your partner uses the mobile phone app, and so forth – all without any bandwidth restrictions.
So if you want to expand your streaming content library on your Fire TV device (and every other supported device), while also getting a great security service – PureVPN is one of the best choices out there.